Still No Timeline For Ice House Repairs At Quogue Refuge

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Repairs have not yet begun on the Quogue Wildlife Refuge’s Ice House building that was damaged in a fire four months earlier, and it remains unclear when that work will begin—and when the century-old building will reopen.

Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius stated at last month’s Village Board meeting that the village’s insurance carrier, Glatfelter Insurance Group of Pennsylvania, recently cut a check for approximately $113,000 to complete repairs to the historic building. Village Board members are handling the claim as the building is owned by the village and under its insurance policy.

Marisa Nelson, the refuge’s program director, wrote in an email on Monday that “the repairs should be starting soon,” though she did not specify when or by whom.

The two-story building, which was once home to the Quogue Ice Company, was damaged in an early morning blaze on July 4. Officials with both the Quogue and Westhampton Beach fire departments, who responded to the fire, said a family of squirrels living near an electric outlet on the building’s second floor could have ignited the blaze.

Southampton Town Fire Marshal Chris Hansen confirmed this week that investigators found several instances where varmints had chewed through the building’s electrical wires.

Both Ms. Nelson and her husband, Michael, who live on the refuge grounds, previously noted that both the second floor and the building’s roof were damaged in the blaze. At the time, Mr. Nelson noted that none of the Ice House’s historic pieces was damaged, however.

On Monday, Ms. Nelson said the plan moving forward is to restore the building so it can continue to be used as an ice harvesting exhibit that features many century-old tools.

“I think the whole wildlife refuge is an enormous asset to Quogue,” Mr. Sartorius said. “The educational aspect … the Ice House is a historical part of that.”

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